By John Ballard
Last year, with the leadership of Senators Mark Udall and Lisa Murkowski, we helped to end more than a century of tradition and had members of Congress sit together during the President�s State of the Union address. After another year of partisan heartburn, we are renewing and expanding this request:
- Sit together during the State of the Union and make mixed seating permanent. The spectacle of one side of the room leaping to its feet and the other sitting glumly on its hands is just that � a spectacle. Let�s end this running joke once and for all.
- Agree to a 24-hour smack talk ceasefire. In the 24 hours leading up to the State of the Union, we ask that politicians and their campaigns speak only about the merits of their ideas, not the demerits of the opposing party�s ideas.
- Spend a weekend together. We ask that Congress set aside one weekend each year to gather together and spend time getting to know each other. In short, we�re asking for Congress to sit together, not apart. Talk to each other, don�t yell. Know each other, don�t be strangers. We are not seeking miracles; we don�t expect to hear strains of Kumbaya. But we cannot imagine Congress solving the nation�s problems unless some form of civility is restored.
What if Congress decided to play nice for a change and
#sittogether during the State of the Union? We�d all be better off.